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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Neal Freedman Appointed Principal Investigator of PLCO Cohort Study

Neal Freedman

Neal Freedman, Ph.D., has been appointed as DCEG’s principal investigator for the Prostate, Lung, Colon, and Ovary (PLCO) Cohort Study.

DCEG Director Stephen J. Chanock, M.D., commented, “Dr. Freedman’s training in biomedical sciences and epidemiology, his impressive track record of important publications covering a variety of classical and molecular epidemiologic approaches to several malignancies, his outstanding mentoring talents, and most particularly his collegial and inclusive approach to science, make him an ideal choice to lead DCEG’s commitment to the incredibly rich PLCO resource.”

Dr. Freedman takes over from Mark Purdue, Ph.D., formerly of DCEG’s Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch. Dr. Purdue led the PLCO team for five years, and with the help of Amanda Black, Ph.D., and Wen-Yi Huang, Ph.D., was responsible for DCEG’s role in the development and success of this national resource. Dr. Purdue now serves as Executive Scientific Director of the Ontario Health Study.

PLCO started as a large, population-based randomized trial designed and sponsored by the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention and DCEG to determine the effects of screening on cancer-related mortality and secondary endpoints in men and women aged 55 to 74.

In addition, PLCO has collected health information and biospecimens (multiple blood draws and some tissue samples) from participants to answer many other questions about cancer and other chronic diseases. The screening component of the trial was completed in 2006, and participants remain under follow-up for cancer occurrence and mortality. Such follow-up strengthens PLCO as a prized resource for molecular epidemiologic research and provides long-term data on the trial’s primary endpoints.